Son of Brooklyn court clerk paralyzed after motorcycle accident
Courthouse to hold fundraiser Friday, Oct. 17
Michael LaRose Jr. was on his motorcycle on a four-lane highway, on his way to work in Seattle last July, when a car coming in the opposite direction made a left turn and hit him head on. That day changed his life and his family members’ lives forever.
“He had a motorcycle in college, but I made him get rid of it because it made us all nervous,” said his father Michael LaRose Sr., who is a court clerk in the Brooklyn Supreme Court. “He got another one about a month before the accident, but he was safe about it. He bought Kevlar-lined jeans, the best helmet money could buy — you know, everything he could get to reasonably protect himself.”
All of that protective equipment might have saved his life, but was not enough to prevent a life-altering accident. LaRose sustained brain injuries and broke two vertebrae in his back; he also broke his jaw and femur and his neck was sliced from impact with the car’s windshield.
LaRose was in the ICU for seven weeks and had multiple surgeries before he was finally flown back to New York, where he is currently rehabbing at St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson. He is paralyzed from the waist down and doctors still cannot determine whether he will eventually be able to walk again.
“No one is saying definitively one way or the other, but the prognosis is grim,” his father said. “No one has officially said it because they say there is always a chance. We aren’t expecting to hear one way or another for at least another six to 12 months.”
The accident has understandably been very hard on the family. LaRose’s mother, Lynda, flew out on the first flight to Seattle when the accident occurred. LaRose Sr. was forced to stay in New York as he recovered from a broken ankle that had developed a blood clot, but stayed in touch with his wife and son over the phone.
LaRose’s brothers have had a tough time as well. The youngest, 16-year-old Christopher who idolized his oldest brother, is trying to get through high school. His other brother, Kevin, 22, recently graduated from college and has begun teaching in Japan.
“It’s been hard on us all,” said LaRose Sr. “I give my wife all the credit in the world because she is a million times stronger than I ever imagine, and she has been keeping us together.”
LaRose, 23, grew up in Bay Shore, Long Island with a passion for sports. He played football and baseball in high school, but also played soccer and basketball as well. An honors student and a member of the National Honor Society, he participated in the Model UN Club, the Mock Trial Club and was captain of the Robotics Team.
After he graduated from Bay Shore High School, LaRose attended the prestigious Webb Institute in Glen Cove, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in naval architecture and marine engineering. He eventually got a job at Elliott Bay Design Group in Seattle as a naval architect. The company was recently awarded the new design for the Staten Island Ferry.
LaRose has insurance from work that will cover part of his medical expenses. He is also still covered under his father’s insurance, but the family is unsure if this will cover all of his expenses, and has applied for Medicaid to help supplement costs. Eventually, the family will apply for social security, as LaRose is not expected to return to work anytime soon.
Insurance is not expected to cover any of the costs of reconfiguring the LaRose family home to accommodate Michael once he finally returns home. An early estimate for some of the changes is expected to cost at least $85,000, which includes adding a small sitting area, a bathroom and a bedroom to the first floor.
Anybody who is looking to help the family is encouraged to go to the website: www.gofundme.com/e53ou8 where donations can be made. There will also be a fundraiser at Harry O’s located at 120 Lawrence St. in Downtown Brooklyn at 6 p.m. on Oct. 17. Lynda’s company is also throwing a fundraiser in Lyndhurst, Long Island on Sunday, Oct. 19.
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